Holiday Tipping and Gifting

Holiday Tipping Practices

Tipping is not an accepted practice in all countries. Therefore, those visiting or new to the United States, especially during the holidays, might be confused by our custom. For us, tipping is a part of doing business and showing appreciation. The holidays are a favorite time (or serve as a reminder) to show appreciation or make someone feel special. Visitors and newcomers to the United States should be aware of this practice.

People from other countries do not necessarily tip taxi drivers; however, it is an indispensable practice to get good service here in the United States.

A taxi driver is typically tipped 15 to 20 percent to the nearest dollar. Never give change to a taxi driver! For example, if your fare comes to $24.35, a 15-percent tip equals $3.95 for a total fare of $28.30. You would pay the driver $29.00.

Monetary tipping at the holiday season is based on the relationship; however, a well-selected gift is always appropriate. Since you probably must also stay within your own holiday budget, budget your tips accordingly. Where you live (metropolitan or rural) and your lifestyle are also considerations.

Who to Tip Tip those people whose services are used or provided on a regular basis. For example, you would not tip someone at the holidays whom you only encounter occasionally or a couple times a year.)

Which to Select — Money versus Gift The selection of money or gift is based on the relationship and the manner in which you can afford to tip. A present that is carefully selected will be kept and remembered for a longer period of time. A monetary gift is appreciated by those who have financial challenges. It is up to you to decide how you want to be remembered. When in doubt, the cost of one service or a double tip at the time of receiving your holiday service will suffice.

The Gift of a Present When giving a present instead of a monetary gift, make sure that the present (or gift card) is of equal or close value or has strong sentimental ties. Monetary Tipping Guidelines (examples)

1. House Cleaner: Up to one’s week’s pay or the amount of one service. 2. Hair Stylist: The cost of one salon visit that includes the shampoo and extra services or double your usual full-service tip. 3. Garbage Man: $10.00 to $30.00. 4. Newspaper Carrier: $10.00 to $30.00 or the amount of one month’s delivery. 5. Mail Carrier: A gift (U.S. government regulations permit carriers to accept gifts worth up to $20.00. No Cash! Gift cards are a great choice.) 6. Teacher: A gift is recommended. (Check school policy regarding cash gifts. They may be prohibited.) A token gift of appreciation for multiple teacher classes. 7. Doorman: $20.00 to $80.00. For multiple doormen: $20.00 or more for each. 8. Garage attendants: $10.00 to $30.00 each. 9. Babysitter: One or two “average” sitter’s days or evening pay. 10. Nanny/Au pair: One week to one month’s pay (based on tenure) or a gift from the family and special gift from the child or children. 11. Day care provider: $25.00 to $70.00 each or for each provider.

Regifting: The Practice of Recycling Gifts Are we so caught up in the need to recycle that we do the same with special occasion gifts. Simply stated, “regifting” refers to receiving a gift that you do not want and then passing it on as a gift to someone else—so as not to “waste” the gift. Depending upon how it is handled, it can be a good gesture or a hurtful experience. Certainly, much depends on the motive behind the gift exchange.

Did you know that the White House, as well as many government agencies, are known for regifting. It’s not surprising! They receive an amazing number of gifts throughout the year from all over the world. These gifts are tagged (who gave the gift and when) upon receipt and “regifted” discreetly and carefully to avoid offense.

Company Policies

Most companies have gift policies; however, it is not easy for the well-intentioned individual to know the gift policy of every customer and company. People will get caught up in the spirit of the holiday or special occasion and want to show appreciation. Yet companies have to be careful and make sure that the gift cannot be interpreted as a bribe. Consequently, there are typically limits as to what may or may not be accepted. If a company does not want to offend the client or vendor by refusing a lavish gift, one suggestion is to send a very appreciative thank you and explain that company policy does not allow the acceptance of the gift and it is being given to a charity on their behalf.

When giving a gift to a co-worker, make sure that it is not of a personal nature (e.g., cologne, garment). A gift to your boss is best given as a collective gift from the department or team. However, in most situations a gift to a boss from one individual is not recommended in order to avoid the appearance of favoritism or a bribe. A note of thanks in a card is probably the best gift of all. Expressing appreciation warms the heart. Personal Gifts

Keep in mind that when you wrap a personal (regifted) gift, the recipient assumes that you purchased the gift especially for him or her. This is where it gets touchy. There is less risk with food or beverage related gifts that can be shared or clothing items that simply do not fit and can be returned with the gift receipt. (After all, that is why the giver includes the gift receipt.) For those who are opposed to regifting, you might want to consider extenuating circumstances, and how to properly handle a gift that you cannot use or that you just don’t need. Much depends on the type of gift that is being regifted and how it is being given. The emotional challenge comes when you put a lot of thought into a particular gift and then later on get it back as a gift. (This has happened to me!)

Regifting Tips to Avoid Misuse People have mixed feelings about regifting, so be careful. Never regift just because the gift is ugly or not needed, especially if it came from a neighbor or family member who visits your home. Again, when you wrap a gift it is assumed that you purchased the gift. If you must regift, follow these three tips:

1. The gift should be very nice and something you are certain the recipient will enjoy.

2. There should be no possibility that the original gift giver will find out that you passed the gift on to someone else. 3. There should be no possibility that the recipient will discover that you did not purchase the gift in the first place or that you are giving them a gift you received from someone else. It could cost you a friendship!

A better alternative would be to give the gift (unwrapped and unopened) to a charity, shelter, or to someone as a token of thanks. Or give it to your church or other organization to use as a raffle or attendance gift.

Enjoy a Giving Holiday Season Published by David Lissner features information on “Chicago Suburban Restaurants” “Best Chicago and Suburban Restaurants” “Dining in Chicago" and “Food and Chef information in Chicago”